PORT CHARLOTTE (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays spotted the Minnesota Twins a 4-0 lead after three innings, but could not complete the comeback, dropping a 4-3 decision Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.
After a first inning that took starter Andrew Kittredge all of seven pitches, he would give up three runs while getting just one out in the second. Miguel Sano started with his first homer of the spring, a solo shot for a 1-0 advantage. Byron Buxton then made it 2-0, scoring on a Robbie Grossman RBI single, and Kennys Vargas scored on a Vidal Nuno wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Sano added his second home run of the afternoon an inning later, another solo shot, this time off Nuno.
The Rays started the comeback in the fourth, as Kevin Kiermaier reached on an infield single and scored on a double by C.J. Cron.
Denard Span's RBI single in the fifth edged Tampa Bay closer, and Micah Johnson's single in the eighth scored pinch-runner Jake Cronenworth to make it 4-3, though the Rays would get no closer.
Sergio Romo, Daniel Hudson, Jonny Venters, Diego Castillo, Ryne Stanek, and Ryan Weber combined to throw six innings of scoreless relief, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six.
Tampa Bay heads to Clearwater for the first of two times this spring Saturday, when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Specturm Field. Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 12:30 with Countdown to Opening Day.